New Jersey Student Suspended For Confederate Flag On Truck

3434786_GI recently wrote about the declining free speech rights of students in the United States. There is another such case out of New Jersey this week where Gregory Vied, 17, has been suspended for refusing to remove a Confederate flag on his truck. In my view, it is a clear violation of free speech and an abuse of the rights of this student to express his views and associations by the administrators of Steinert High School in Hamilton Township.

After the American Civil Liberties Union intervened, the school reduced the original suspension of three days to one day. That hardly resolves the matter. The school is still punishing a student for a symbol on his truck outside of the school in the parking lot.

Vied insists that the flag is not meant to reflect racism but Southern pride. (His connection to his family’s Southern roots might be a tad stronger if the flag did not have “REDNECK” written across it, though it does reflect a group identity). Regardless of the message, it is clearly protected speech and shows the degree to which school officials are not imposing their own views on students — and teaching conformity to these future citizens. The decision is part of a growing line of cases granting sweeping deference to school officials and curtailing the free speech rights of students. I have long disagreed with that trend. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969), the Supreme Court supported the first amendment rights of Iowa residents John F. Tinker (15 years old), John’s younger sister Mary Beth Tinker (13 years old), and their friend Christopher Eckhardt (16 years old) in wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. In his majority decision, Justice Abe Fortas held that “undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression.” In a statement would would seem to fit this case, Fortas found that “the record does not demonstrate any facts which might reasonably lead school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities, and no disturbances or disorders on the school premises in fact occurred.” Since Tinker, the Supreme Court has steadily limited the speech rights of students as in the ruling in the “Bong Hits For Jesus” case.

If this flag is banned, how about Free Tibet stickers or Black Pride signs or NRA stickers? We have seen schools cracking down on any bumper stickers viewed offensive but there is a decidedly ambiguous standard for such decisions. We have also seen tee-shirts with NRA symbols and American flags banned by schools. Given their school symbol, the Spartans, I wonder what would happen if students began to show images from Sparta where the helots were treated as sub-humans.

Putting aside the constitutional concerns, why shouldn’t students be encouraged to engage in such speech and associations? Many kids are entirely unconnected today and uninterested in public causes or speech. Rather than teaching about the marketplace of ideas, schools are teaching conformity and authoritarian caprice.

The Southern flag is clearly insulting to many people due to its historical associations. However, it is also a simple of Southern heritage and sacrifice. Robert E. Lee himself identified with the flag while rejoicing in the end of slavery. He stated:

In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country.

So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained.

This is not to say that I am not sympathetic to those objecting to the symbol but I believe that the image of free speech being curtailed in this way is far more disturbing.

144 thoughts on “New Jersey Student Suspended For Confederate Flag On Truck

  1. Mr. Turley, didn’t you read Animal Farm. “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” I truly wonder what PC folks think about Orwell?

  2. Redneck…. Says all you need to know about its southern heritage…..toothless… Inbreeding…. Daddy, momma, baby brother…..nephew, uncle all in one….

    As to free speech…. Why not…. You suppress it you’re bound to forget it….

  3. Maybe it’s just me, but why would you drive around town with a very offensive symbol or image attached to yourself (or at least a symbol that millions of people find offensive)?

    I saw two young white males, walking around in a grocery store with a big Swatiska symbol in the middle of their white t-shirt.

    Is it free speech or does the school leaders and the grocery store owner have the right to say: ‘Get off our property, as long as you are publicly displaying and/or supporting those image(s)’?

  4. ‘ (His connection to his family’s Southern roots might be a tad stronger if the flag did not have “REDNECK” written across it)’

    Maybe you never heard of redneck pride.

    What ever his views on race, I am pretty sure that in this case redneck is an indication of group pride, solidarity, and outsider status, much like wearing an item of clothing with a rainbow motif or a sweat shirt emblazoned with ‘Thug Life’.

  5. This is so a far a 1st Amendment differently abled thread. The ACLU stepped into this one, people. As they did w/ Nazi’s marching in Skokie. It is OFFENSIVE speech that needs protection for chrissake. I guess they don’t teach this in the PC education industry public schools any longer.

  6. I–and my mother and both of my aunts–attended high school here and grew up less than 2 miles away. This is certainly not representative of the student body at that school (it is central New Jersey, after all). But I’m shocked at the curtailment of the First Amendment.

  7. Nick,

    Did you have some woman embarrass you at a public school…. So now any school is fair game…. And a bonus is they are female and unionized…..

  8. “Is it free speech or does the school leaders and the grocery store owner have the right to say: ‘Get off our property, as long as you are publicly displaying and/or supporting those image(s)’?”

    Grocery store owner – maybe, is the store a public accommodation or private property?

    But school leaders – of course not, obviously not. As soon as you let school leaders make such determinations you place in jeopardy celebrations of MLK day, support for LGBT community, and girls, young women, will put in their place and forced to conform to appropriate behavior.

    Freedom is not easy. On the contrary it is difficult. The only thing more difficult is living without it.

    Let the young man display his flag. And if you don’t like it, get your own flag. Better yet, start a conversation. If he is displaying a flag, he is clearly trying to communicate. You might find you have more to say to each other than you could possibly imagine. Besides, it couldn’t hurt.

  9. I say sure, let those little Hitler Youth neo-Nazi’s wear their entire regalia to school, like the boy scouts used to. Swish those flags, hinder and yon.

  10. “I say sure, let those little Hitler Youth neo-Nazi’s wear their entire regalia to school, like the boy scouts used to. Swish those flags, hinder and yon.”

    Much better they be in the open where we can engage them in discussion and gauge their intent than that they remain in the dark places of society.

    They are going to have their say. The only question is whether thoughtful people will be there to point out their errors in fact and fallacies in logic.

  11. J.T. “The Southern flag is clearly insulting to many people due to its historical associations. However, it is also a simple of Southern heritage and sacrifice.”

    Where is it written that you have the right to NOT be offended? That is exactly the right that the First Amendment protects. The professor has it exactly right.

    RWL “Maybe it’s just me, but why would you drive around town with a very offensive symbol or image attached to yourself (or at least a symbol that millions of people find offensive)?”

    Because you CAN and because it’s your right to do so.

  12. ▼I can’t help wonder what admin’s reaction would be to bumper stickers ▼
    LEFT SIDE “Cougar Teachers Rock”
    MIDDLE “Call/Text Me @ 555-555-1212”
    RIGHT SIDE “Let’s Rock & Roll”

    I have ancestors on both sides of the Civil War/War Between The States .

    The article did not make it clear about own.lease/rent status of the p. lot.

  13. I must say I was surprised that they did not give the student another 3 days suspension for the American flag on the other side.

  14. BFM,

    As of March 28, 2014, public schools have the legal right(s) to tell you what to wear, how to wear it, and when to wear it (via school uniform policies…public schools also have the legal right to institute a school uniform policy).

    Public schools also have the legal right to tell you when, where, how, and what type of vehicle you can have on their property (i.e most public schools will not allow you to park an 18 wheeler on their parking lot without first receiving some sort of consent..if you double park-park in 2 lanes-public school officials can ask you to ‘re-park or move your vehicle’, if you park in in their handicap parking space, they can ask you to move your vehicle, etc.).

    Hence, does a public school have the legal right to tell you what you can or cannot place on your vehicle on their property? If public schools have the right to tell you what, when, and how you can wear your clothes, and lunch and breakfast rules, when to come to school, when, what, how, and where to park your vehicle, then they certainly have the legal right to tell you what you can and/or cannot put on your vehicle in their parking lot?

    Is it fair? I don’t know. After all it is their lot, therefore, you have to abide by their rules (you are already abiding by so many of their rules)?

  15. I see the American flag on the other side. Maybe he should be suspended for flying the flag of a country that disregards the constitutional values on which it was founded.

  16. Sue the school. It’s a waste of resources, but those freedom hating administrators apparently can’t get the message any other way.

  17. Kraaken, Haven’t you read the PC Constitution? It emphatically states there is a clear right to not be offended. Thanks for offering some brains and sanity to this thread!

  18. I forgot to add: Did you know that a public school legally responsible for your safety and well-being while on their premises? In other words, you can sue a school district, for financial damages, if you slip and fall on their parking, if the school did not do a ‘good job’ in cleaning and/or clearing their parking lot after a snow or ice storm.

    Their is a thin line between public and private ownership, especially when a customer, client, parent, student, etc, is involved.

  19. RWL, You don’t understand the 1st Amendment. Sue your high school history teachers. A school is supposed to be A BASTION of free speech, POLITICAL SPEECH being the most protected.

  20. I recall an interview with the then head of the BBC in which he said “Some people deserve to be offended.”

  21. ” After all it is their lot”

    I would have thought it is our lot – that is ‘ours’ as in citizens.

    I would also argue that we, the citizens, set the rules in accordance with the various limitations of democracy.

    The fact that there are some court decisions that allow administrators to ride rough shod over the rights of students does not mean the cases are correctly decided or that they will remain in force for all time.

    Just consider that at one time some people were considered property; at one time separate was considered equal.

    What does speech in the form of an auto accessory have to do with orderly parking? Absolutely nothing. If the justification for the restriction is based on parking then clearly the restriction goes to far.

    Students have rights and thoughtful citizens will take strong democratic measures to defend those rights.

  22. RWL, you are correct, and the reason is that it is distracting and can insight other problems and possible riots or prejudice warfare among students. This student will have opportunities to express his free speech in his classroom writing assignments, discussions, and debates.
    In the south this boys flag would be something to laugh at, in N.J. it can start serious trouble among students. That’s when free speech has to be curtailed.

  23. BFM, Nick, Kraaken, et al

    Prof. JT (and the student, his parents, his lawyer, etc.) have phrased this discussion/issue as only a free speech/1st Amendment rights subject. This discussions also should include (and Prof. JT and et all, did not even mention this) property rights. Does a public school or public facility have property rights as a individual or private entity does? And what are those property rights that a public institution enjoy? Maybe this article should be about private vs public property rights?

    If a public institution/facility is entitled to do all that I mentioned above, and be held accountable for everything that I mentioned above, then a public institution has the same property rights as a private entity/facility?

    I hate to say this but I have to: FREE SPEECH DOES NOT TRUMPH PROPERTY RIGHTS!

  24. LawyerChuch – If a frog had wings it would not bump its ass every time it jumped. But, what what if it were the flag of Mexico? What ifs are so much fun. :)

  25. As a black person, I certainly don’t like the confederate flag. That being said, I support people’s right to fly it, and understand how it can be a symbol of pride for some people.

    However, when attending the academy, I had a roommate who claimed that his confederate flag, belt buckle, and other confederate items were for pride. He also felt it appropriate to call me a ni**er, and smile about it, among other degrading things he subjected me to (he never graduated, thank god). Despite that, I wouldn’t say it’s right to infringe upon this guy’s right to fly the flag, racism intended or not. Bigotry is still legal in this instance, and so is “southern pride”.

    If the school has legal ground to ask him to remove the vehicle or symbol, then suspension might be warranted. But that would require someone showing that they have the grounds to remove a symbol (not a type of vehicle, or vehicle without a parking pass or something) from their property. If in fact the parking lot is their property, and not rented/leased.

    This still feels like another instance in which administrators are using their “feelings” instead of the law (or common sense) to meter “justice” out to their student bodies.

  26. Is the Nazi Swastika a symbol of Western Civilization and sacrifice in fighting the Communists? Some people certainly saw it that way and still do.

    As far as Robert E. Lee and slavery he also had this to say

    “I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.”

    Must be nice to know that God endorses enslaving those subhumans. It’s good for them, you know. Dirty business but can’t be helped, yada, yada, yada.

  27. anarmyofficer, Thank you for your service. It is obvious you knew what you were fighting for when you served this flawed, but great country. Pity others don’t.

  28. nick spinelli


    I truly wonder what PC folks think about Orwell?
    ==================
    Same as SC folks (socially correct).

    They do not know that “Orwell” was a handle like “Dredd” is.

    He coined the phrase “bully religion” which originated among certain flag aficionados (Bully Worship: The Universal Religion).

    “Hey brother, can you spare me a flag?”

  29. I think the way to bypass the restrictions on free speech such as Tinker would be to say that the school violated the free speech according to the various state constitutions.

  30. If you want to fly the flag of a “country” which enslaved up to 4 million human beings, well that is your right. But who in their right mind would give moral support/sanction to a regime which so violated the most fundamental tenents of human life; the right to live your own life for yourself.

    Slavery was and is a moral depravity, a blot on our founding and an institution which should have ended at the birth of our country. To run around parading a flag which symbolizes the enslavement of our fellow man is detestable.

    There was nothing romantic about the ante-bellum south, it was a primitive, fedual society which suffered an appropriate fate.

    Let the flag fly but I have the right to think the person doing the flying is morally corrupt.

  31. The schools are better served to just ignore these flags for practical reasons, if anything. Look at how much negative attention and possible legal liability this brings. Not everything must be rigidly controlled.

    The days of entities getting away with being unjust because they are remote and do what they want are over.

  32. My concern is for the people on here who actually think the school has the legal authority to ban a confederate flag. We apparently are notinstructing people on the basics of the First Amendment if we have people who believe that.

  33. Also, we apparently are not instructing people on the basics of American history if we have people who believe that the south was the only part of the nation that would give moral support/sanction to a regime which so violated the most fundamental tenents of human life; the right to live your own life for yourself.

    There is much shame to go around, including the racism of Robert E. Lee and Lincoln. Other western nations managed to end slavery without killing 500,000 people, but not Lincoln – then again, perhaps it was not just slavery that inspired America’s first Republican war criminal. And the racism never ends – black people remain slaves in the prison-industrial complex administered in many cases by other black people, all while enlightened white progressives seem to think blacks would be unable to care for themselves without the assistance of these enlightened white folks.

    It’s time that those northerners who are so superior to us inbred crackers from the south checked the blood on their own hands and took a long hard look in the mirror. Maybe they can also explain their advanced culture that is shown on Jersey Shore.

  34. Tom Blanton:

    All mankind…being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.
    – John Locke

  35. Paul Ogden, Some of these uninformed people are on this very thread and have the right to vote. The fact that they have that right frightens and repulses me, but I would fight to defend that right. I worked w/ history teachers who were paid public money and think just like these uninformed people. Their agenda was PC not the Constitution, that is educational malpractice. The education industry is the driving force of this pernicious PC and complicit in the erosion of our knowledge of the document that I swore to protect and defend.

  36. Tom Blanton, An eloquent Rebel yell!! I am a born a bred Connecticut Yankee but I detest the way people here and elsewhere denigrate the south. I stick up for you good people all the time. I had family move to Georgia and Texas and they had great neighbors and friends.

  37. There is a History Channel series on the Civil War, which I record and watch. They did a whole hour on flags, both North and South. For both sides, their unit flag was so important to them that they would tear it into small pieces and each soldier take a piece to protect, rather than have the flag captured. Great shame was attached to losing your flag. A lot of men died for the Confederate flag they are should have their due. Few of those people were slave holders.

    In the South, this war is known as the War of Northern Aggression or the Late Unpleasantness. Virginia joined the Confederacy when the North said they were sending troops south to fight. To do that they had to travel through Virginia. Virginia was not going to have federal troops travel through Virginia to attack other states. The war from the southern side was not black-and-white and it was not that way from the north. A black regiment in NYC wanted to join up to fight for the North but was prevented from doing so. They were told “It’s a white mans’ war and it will be fought by white men.”

    There was rampant slavery in the border states allied with the North and when Lincoln came out with the Emancipation Proclamation, it only covered states in secession, not the border states. Actually, it did not free anyone. Prior to that some generals were returning captured blacks to their southern owners when they were captured. Finally, one of the generals started seizing them as war contraband and keeping them. He turned them into unpaid laborers (slaves). They went from one slave master to another.

    I know that some people like to make the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression) into a simple slavery issue, but it really was not. It is far more complex than that. It was states’ rights, economics, one section of the country dictating to another, etc. It is estimated that 600,000 died on both sides. Both sides deserve honor as far as I am concerned.

  38. RWL

    you are right about property rights. when on school property you cannot wear t-shirts advertising alcohol, cigarettes, or any other tobacco products. you can’t wear sunglasses or hats in class. when on school property you have to follow school rules.

    having said that, when i was in high school it was not unusual to see confederate flags at school and football games.

    i graduated from Robert E Lee high school.

  39. Cigs, alcohol, etc. are not political speech. But, good to see more than just a ball bust from you, pooch!

  40. Just because schools get away w/ their suppression of Free Speech doesn’t make it right. Our Constitutional rights are under assault, and it’s a 2 front war, left and right armies are attacking.

  41. It’s asinine for anyone to believe that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery and white supremacy. Southern leaders were quite explicit about just why they sought independence. They helpfully actually took the time to write it down just so later generations would know what they were fighting for.

    “Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

    “We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.”

    http://www.theurbanpolitico.com/2012/09/lynyrd-skynyrd-heritage-not-hate-dodge.html

    Just because some people on this thread are proudly historically ignorant is no reason that other people should remain so. The idea that most Southern soldiers did not own slaves and thus therefore the war was not about slavery or that therefore the war was morally complex is also wrong.

    Most German soldiers were not running death camps. Yet, with the exception of the Stormfront brigade, nobody talks about victims on both sides of WW2 or defends the swastika as an honest expression of Aryan “heritage”. Many people fought bravely under the swastika yet somehow most people today understand that those people were fighting for evil and do not deserve respect and honor. Why the difference in perspective? It’s because too many whites today still remain unable to understand or empathize with the atrocity that was slavery. After all, it was only black people.

    White Southerners started the bloodiest war the US ever fought. They were traitors to the US and all should have been hanged as such after the war. If they had been the US might have avoided the next 100 years of segregation and the terror state which the South became. Sadly, much like today’s right wing Japanese unable to admit wrongdoings of their WW2 generation, lies and ignorance have been handed down from one generation to the next.

  42. Too bad that some folks are too bent on dismantling the public educationial institution as we know it they won’t look at the private/public funded charter schools that restrict students right much further than the traditional public funded school….. Plus, if the private/charter schools get tired of a student…. For whatever reason they may discharge them for whatever reason….. Kid brings a confederate flag to school… Sorry… You’re kicked out…. Kid doesn’t wear the uniform… Or sasses back… Sorry… Kicked out…. So much for private/public charter schools….. Being better….

  43. Does the First Amendment apply to public schools?
    http://www.firstamendmentschools.org/freedoms/faq.aspx?id=12807

    Yes. The First Amendment applies to all levels of government, including public schools. Although the courts have permitted school officials to limit the rights of students under some circumstances, the courts have also recognized that students — like all citizens — are guaranteed the rights protected by the First Amendment.

    Earlier in our history, however, the First Amendment did not apply to the states — and thus not to public schools. When adopted in 1791, the First Amendment applied only to Congress and the federal government (“Congress shall make no law . . .”). This meant that when public schools were founded in the mid-19th century, students could not make First Amendment claims against the actions of school officials.

    The restrictions on student speech lasted into the 20th century. In 1908, for example, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that school officials could suspend two students for writing a poem ridiculing their teachers that was published in a local newspaper.1 The Wisconsin court reasoned, “such power is essential to the preservation of order, decency, decorum, and good government in the public schools.” And in 1915, the California Court of Appeals ruled that school officials could suspend a student for criticizing and “slamming” school officials in a student assembly speech.2

    In fact, despite the passage of the 14th Amendment in 1868, which provides that “no state shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law . . . “, it was not until 1925, by way of the Supreme Court case of Gitlow v. New York, that the Supreme Court held that the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment is one of the “liberties” incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

    In subsequent cases, the Court has applied all of the freedoms of the First Amendment to the states — and thus to public schools — through the 14th Amendment. But not until 1943, in the flag-salute case of West Virginia v. Barnette,3 did the U.S. Supreme Court explicitly extend First Amendment protection to students attending public schools.

    The Barnette case began when several students who were Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to salute the flag for religious reasons. School officials punished the students and their parents. The students then sued, claiming a violation of their First Amendment rights.

    At the time that the students sued, Supreme Court precedent painted a bleak picture for their chances. Just a few years earlier, the Court had ruled in favor of a similar compulsory flag-salute law in Minersville School District v. Gobitis.4 As the Court stated in that ruling, “national unity is the basis of national security.”

    However, the high court reversed itself in Barnette, holding that the free speech and free exercise of religion provisions of the First Amendment guarantee the right of students to be excused from the flag salute on grounds of conscience.

    Writing for the majority, Justice Robert Jackson said that the Supreme Court must ensure “scrupulous protection of constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes.”5 The Court then warned of the dangers of coercion by government in oft-cited, eloquent language:

    If there is any fixed star in our Constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.6

  44. Private and public funded charter schools do NOT dismantle public education, that is propaganda from the public school teacher unions. Oddly enough, the teachers’ union in Arizona runs a charter school and regular school districts here are opening their own charter schools.

    Charter schools (because they are public schools) have to take everyone, however some (as set in their charter) can make the students take qualifying tests of some sort (knowledge, art, language, etc). Some specialize in taking the students who were kicked out of the larger public and private schools. It is a little known fact outside the education industry, but regular public schools expel a lot of students just before they would have to take state mandated tests. Those expelled would not do well on the tests and would lower the scores for the school. So they are expelled.

    I worked in schools that specialized in taking at-risk or risked students and getting them back on track academically and into college. That took a different set of rules than the public school. The flag incident would have never happened in my schools because we had bigger fish to worry about. Our biggest problem was keeping kids from rival gangs from going at each other in the school. Second biggest problem was drugs. Students were expelled for fighting and for drugs. However, they could come back the next block. Since there were four blocks a year, a student would only lose 1/4 of their credits maximum. Every charter school I worked for had a uniform, but all were a school t-shirt and khakis. We sold the t-shirts at cost and we recommended places where they could get inexpensive khakis.

    Private schools have their own rules. The parents have to agree to them when the student joins in the institution. Most private schools cater to two populations, the students who are there because their parents are paying for a top-flight education and the students who are there because they got expelled from the public system and need a place to go and the parents can afford it.

    Public education created its own mess and it needs to clean it up itself. The unions have not helped because they pretend to be for the student, but their job is to protect their members, not insure students get a proper education. Studies have shown that the ideal school is somewhere around 300 students, small enough that the principal knows the name of every student. Most public schools are over 1000 and the high schools here have up to 4500 students in them.

  45. shady grady – I was a history major and have spent a lot of time investigating the history of slavery. You can buy into whatever you want, but it was a lot more nuanced then you are willing to admit.

    If you join an organization (in this case the United States) you should be able to leave it. When you join an organization and cannot leave it, it is considered a cult. It was the northern states who first broached the idea of leaving the United States. They didn’t but they sure talked about it. It was the southern states that finally had enough and left. And it was the north who threatened to invade the South to get them back, hence the appellation War of Northern Aggression.

    If we are really going to place blame, it should go to the Founding Fathers who could not solve the problem in the Constitution and kicked the can down the road hoping it would either go away or someone else would have to deal with it after they were dead. It was the latter. You can also blame the writers of the Declaration of Independence. In one of the first drafts they condemned George III and Britain for bringing slaves to the colonies (all slaves coming to the colonies came in ships flying the British flag).

    Was what the slave-holder did legal? Yes!!! Whether it was moral or ethical depended on what side you were on. A current example with the same issues is abortion. Is abortion legal? Yes!!! Is it moral or ethical depends on what side you are on. Oddly there is even more comparison. Negros were not considered human so it was alright to enslave them. Fetuses are not considered human so it is alright to abort them.

  46. Paul, Bill DiBlasio is trying to dismantle school choice in NYC as he is a teacher’s union b!tch. NOBODY buys the union lies anymore and this one termer is facing a shitstorm of anger, including real right wingers like Andrew Cuomo! The party is over. The union fat cats are the partiers who never leave. You have to be a tough host and run their fat asses out. Look for the linkster to go manic.

  47. Paul S….. The BS meters running full charge today huh…. Give me the name of a charter school that kicked a student out they provided alternative education…… Just so I can check your statements…..

  48. PS aka BS….. English not your primary language? Or was reading comprehension not taught in the school you attended…..

  49. AY – reread your statement “Give me the name of a charter school that kicked a student out they provided alternative education” and tell me it makes sense.
    1) This request/demand violates Prof. Turley’s civility guidelines. 2) If a charter school provided alternative education they would have graduated the student or returned him/her back to the regular public system 3) It is usually the regular public schools who expel students who need an alternative education.

  50. Paul,

    “It is usually the regular public schools who expel students who need an alternative education.”

    Public schools in my state are required to provide educational services to students with special needs. If a student’s needs are severe enough, the local system may have to pay the tuition for a child to attend a private school/facility that can provide the appropriate educational services to the student. Are the public schools in the state where you teach not required to do the same?

  51. Paul,

    The history major….you are….. I’m sure you have reading problems…. But that’s ok….

    I) the request does not in my opinion violate turleys civility rule…. But you can take that up elsewhere…. I called your statement BS and asked for facts…. Hardly an insult to most…..

    2) in deciphering what you said…. If, they provided…. See that’s the issue… They don’t provide… But take only non problem children….. That follow the rules and do what they are told I order to fit in…. Yes… They send the rejects back to the public school system…..

    3) yes… You are correct… If a public school expells a student…. They must provide alternative education… Or risk title IX funding….. But don’t let facts get in your way of the progaganda you dispel…..

  52. Paul Schulte:

    How do you nuance the enslavement of 4 million human beings? Slavery is evil, pure and simple.

    Slavery should have been abolished at the ratification of our Constitution.

    The civil war was about slavery. States’ rights? BS, there is no right by any state to force one man to submit to another and give the sweat of his brow so that another may live a life of idleness.

    The soldiers of the south died for a corrupt system based on evil, they died for nothing. Their deaths had no greater meaning, they threw their lives away for a morally detestable system.

    A man has not right to the life and effort/work of another man.

    “A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)”

    Ayn Rand

    Those slaves had a right to their own life and the civil war was about giving black that natural right. The other stuff you spoke about was extraneous to the primary issue.

  53. Elaine – charter schools are required to take special needs students just like the regular public schools. They are better at integrating them into the regular classroom because they have no other choice. If they get a special needs student they cannot provide service for, i.e., severely disabled, they are still required to give them an education. They usually pay to have another facility take them on. But the cost of the education comes from the charter school funds.

  54. The kids in that school need to get tee shirts with the first paragraph of the Tinker decision printed on the front and also black armbands with small confederate flags located in the center of the armband. They should wear these shirts and armbands to school each day. If all the kids did it then the school and its dumb school board would have to punish all of them. On the back of the tee shirts there should be a sentence: The British Are Coming!

    Or, as Curley in the Three Stooges said: Hotsi Totsi, I smell a Nazi.

  55. PS you are so full of BS…. I’m from Missouri…. Show Me…. Show me where charter schools are forced to take special needs children….. And if they are that they are required to spend charter school funds….

  56. Paul Schulte

    “Elaine – charter schools are required to take special needs students just like the regular public schools. They are better at integrating them into the regular classroom because they have no other choice. If they get a special needs student they cannot provide service for, i.e., severely disabled, they are still required to give them an education. They usually pay to have another facility take them on. But the cost of the education comes from the charter school funds.”

    *****

    I didn’t say anything about charter schools.

    You wrote: “It is usually the regular public schools who expel students who need an alternative education.”

    I responded: “Public schools in my state are required to provide educational services to students with special needs. If a student’s needs are severe enough, the local system may have to pay the tuition for a child to attend a private school/facility that can provide the appropriate educational services to the student. Are the public schools in the state where you teach not required to do the same?”

  57. The Roman Empire was built on slavery. It was Muslim blacks who sold the slaves in Africa. It was usually other blacks who captured them. Slavery was legal in the United States and was protected by the Constitution (although the word slavery does not appear).

    In 1860 a prime field hand cost roughly $1000. In today’s money that is around $100,000. If the US outlawed slavery because they had enough votes in Congress, I (as a slaveholder) would be out $100,000 in today’s money. To give you a current example. Let’s say the Congress outlaws automobiles. I am out the money I paid for the automobile, I might even have to continue paying for an auto I now no longer have, but I bought it on credit. Many of the countries that outlawed slavery paid the slaveholders for their slaves, France did this for one. The United States never offered to do it. So, as you can hopefully see, there is an economic side to this.

    I am not a fan of slavery since my people were periodically captured by Vikings and sold to Arabs. And the British enslaved my homeland. However, as a historian you learn not to add your morals or ethics to historical issues.

  58. Wisconsin is like the canary in the coal mine.

    “In the window of the now-defunct LifeSkills Academy on N. 38th St. in Milwaukee, there hangs a forlorn sign advertising School Choice Week, slated for Jan. 26 to Feb. 1. The current administration in Madison has declared Wisconsin School Choice Week every year since 2011, and this year likely will be no different.

    LifeSkills Academy, as a promoter of “school choice,” made some jaw-dropping choices. One such choice was to close without warning in the middle of the night in December, disrupting the education of 66 students as their families scrambled to find alternatives, while keeping the full $200,000 it had received in taxpayer funds for a semester left unfinished. Another was to open a new LifeSkills Academy in Florida as a McKay Special Needs “scholarship” school, qualifying for that state’s special needs vouchers by declaring sudden expertise in various disabilities.

    As parents of public school students with significant developmental disabilities, we find this sequence of school choices to be more chilling than a Wisconsin winter. The story of LifeSkills Academy also casts a revealing light on a revamped special needs voucher bill introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature on Tuesday, previous iterations of which have been blocked through determined opposition from families and disability organizations statewide.

    Because of the activism of parents before us, our children attend school with their neighborhood peers. Across the country, students with disabilities have the right to a free and appropriate public education, with legally enforceable protections, through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

    Unfortunately, the rights and protections of the IDEA do not apply in private voucher schools such as LifeSkills Academy, and special needs vouchers would not change that. Private voucher schools are not required to have therapists or special educators on staff, and Wisconsin’s existing voucher program has a dismal track record of expelling or “counseling out” students with disabilities.

    The revamped special needs voucher bill puts no limit on the number of vouchers that could be granted statewide, reducing funding available for every school district in the state. While the recent statewide voucher expansion specified that schools must be in existence for at least two years before qualifying to take vouchers, the new special needs voucher bill makes no such provision, leaving the doors wide open for fly-by-night schools to choose Wisconsin solely to take advantage of the vouchers — and of some of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable students.

    The special needs voucher threat to the students of Wisconsin is why we are part of Stop Special Needs Vouchers, a statewide parent-led grass-roots group that advocates in favor of inclusive public education and in opposition to voucher schemes funded and supported in large part by out-of-state interests. We are deeply opposed to this latest attempt to pull public money out of public schools and into private schools where students with disabilities surrender their rights at the door, if indeed the door is not slammed in their faces.

    The private schools are the entities that would be given the real choice. And when private schools get to choose, students with significant disabilities lose. Our public school students stand to lose funding for critical shared resources, at a time when public education funding already has been deeply slashed.

    Students with disabilities deserve a quality education. We cannot let School Choice Week declarations and harmful special needs voucher legislation distract us from this goal. Instead, we should be supporting and strengthening Wisconsin’s public schools. Together we can work to restore public school funding, perhaps with the recently reported state surplus, rather than drain funding via vouchers. We also propose to improve open enrollment, so students with disabilities have the same opportunity as their nondisabled peers to choose between public school districts, where their rights are protected and there are assurances of quality.

    Together we call on the Legislature to work with us on these issues and to reject special needs vouchers outright in 2014.”

    This was submitted by Pamela DeLap of Oshkosh, Kevin Fech of Cudahy, Nancy Gapinski of Glendale, Terri Hart-Ellis of Whitefish Bay, Tammie Hefty of Mount Horeb and Joanne Juhnke of Madison. They are part of the group Stop Special Needs Vouchers.

    Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/when-schools-choose-students-with-disabilities-lose-b99189757z1-241733581.html#ixzz2xMzhBBS9
    Follow us: @JournalSentinel on Twitter

  59. Read your article and currently in Arizona, ALL charter schools are under the State Board of Charter schools. And they have to re-certify all the time. Every five years they are audited. Ever fifteen years their charter is up for renewal. This last year was the first renewal year for the original schools. Some got raked over the coals and some were praised. The last school I worked at was praised.

  60. Paul wrote: “It is usually the regular public schools who expel students who need an alternative education.”

    I responded: “Public schools in my state are required to provide educational services to students with special needs. If a student’s needs are severe enough, the local system may have to pay the tuition for a child to attend a private school/facility that can provide the appropriate educational services to the student. Are the public schools in the state where you teach not required to do the same?

    *****
    Then Paul wrote: “Elaine – charter schools are required to take special needs students just like the regular public schools. They are better at integrating them into the regular classroom because they have no other choice. If they get a special needs student they cannot provide service for, i.e., severely disabled, they are still required to give them an education. They usually pay to have another facility take them on. But the cost of the education comes from the charter school funds.”

    I responded: “I didn’t say anything about charter schools.”

    You wrote: “It is usually the regular public schools who expel students who need an alternative education.”

    I responded: “Public schools in my state are required to provide educational services to students with special needs. If a student’s needs are severe enough, the local system may have to pay the tuition for a child to attend a private school/facility that can provide the appropriate educational services to the student. Are the public schools in the state where you teach not required to do the same?”

    *****

    Then Paul wrote:

    “Elaine – a careful reading of my first sentence will show that I answered your question.”

    *****

    You claimed that “regular public schools” expel students who need alternative education. I asked you if public schools in your state were required to meet the educational needs of special needs students. You replied by saying that “charter schools are required to take special needs students just like the regular public schools” Can you provide proof that “regular public schools” are in the habit of expelling students with special needs?

  61. Paul Schulte:

    So what? Right is right and economics has nothing to do with it.

    It isnt the slave owners who should have been reimbursed, it is the slaves themselves who should have been paid for the wages lost from many years of forced labor.

    I am amazed that you would even write that as a legitimate reason.

  62. AY,

    What I found interesting recently when I was doing research on charter schools in New York City was the high salaries paid to some of the charter school leaders/CEOs. Dennis Walcott, Chancellor of the New York City Schools, earns $212,614. Compare what he earns to the salaries of some charter school CEOs:

    – Village Academies Network CEO Deborah Kenny earned $499,146 in the 2011-12 school year
    – David Levin of KIPP NY earned $395,350
    – Eva Moskowitz earned $475,244 on the Success Academy Charter Schools’ tax forms

    Check out the chart at the following link:

    Top 16 NYC charter school executives earn more than Chancellor Dennis Walcott
    Big paychecks are called ‘outrageous’ as New York City charter schools claim their students would face cuts if the schools are charged rent under a new mayor.
    BY Rachel Monahan /
    NEW YORK DAILY NEWS /
    Published: Saturday, October 26, 2013
    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/top-16-nyc-charter-school-execs-out-earn-chancellor-dennis-walcott-article-1.1497717

  63. Bryon – the government talked about giving the freed slaves 40 acres and a mule, but they never got around to it. I would agree that they were due past wages, however, the former slaveholders were financially destitute.

  64. Elaine – in eduspeak “alternative education” and “special needs” are two very different things.

  65. PS:

    “the former slaveholders were financially destitute.”

    So what? They got what they deserved, you cant own people, you cant force people to work for free, you arent entitled to the unearned.

  66. Elaine,

    I remember when Betsy DeVos bankrolled candidates that supported vouchers…… Even though it had been a ballot measure soundly defeated…. She got enough elected and then heritage academy opened up all around…. Initially they had to be a charter if a university…. Limited in number but that’s gone now….. They are unlimited….

  67. Paul,

    I don’t care about “eduspeak.” I care about students getting the educational services they need–whether it be in alternative programs, a special needs resource room, or in a regular classroom with a program adapted to meet their individual needs.

    We had all manner of special needs students mainstreamed at my school–students with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, behavioral issues, Dyslexia, other reading and learning difficulties, severe emotional issues, pdd, etc. Our school and faculty did an excellent job of addressing the needs of these students. There were a few occasions in my years there when students required outside placements in alternative programs. The school system paid for their placements outside the district.

  68. PS, BS meter running….. In some education speak the terms are used interchangeable….. Like Nick and Mo Ron….. That political speak for Ronnnie Wilson Regean……

  69. Plus read the entire 14 amendment which prevented compensation to the slave holding states in insurrection….

  70. PS so why isn’t the chancellor of public schools compensated in the same fashion as the private/charter that claim poverty…..

  71. Actually PS, they actually did give some slaves 40 acres and a mule…. Andrew Johnson was practically lynched…. He was harsher than lincoln was probably going to be…. When Grant was elected…. He reversed that decision….. But could not reverse the seizure of Robert E Lees property which is now Arlington cemetery….. So appointed him head of Washington Lee university as I recall…. Lifetime I think …..

  72. Paul,

    I have a background in education. I speak from more than thirty years of teaching experience. I worked as an elementary classroom teacher (31 years), as an elementary school librarian (3 years), and as an adjunct instructor at the Boston University School of Education (6 years).

  73. PS leave university’s out of the discussion….. Unless you’re trying to confuse issues again…..

  74. PS:

    did you ever read this in your pursuit of history?

    http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/jsmill/contest-america.pdf

    “I am not frightened at the word rebellion…. But I certainly never conceived that there was a sufficient title to my sympathy in the mere fact of being a rebel; that the act of taking arms against one’s fellow citizens was so meritorious in itself, was so completely its own justification, that no question need be asked concerning the motive. It seems to me a strange doctrine that the most serious and responsible of all human acts imposes no obligation on those who do it, of showing that they have a real grievance; that those who rebel for the power of oppressing others, exercise as sacred a right as those who do the same thing to resist oppression practised upon themselves…. Secession may be laudable, and so may any other kind of insurrection; but it may also be an enormous crime. It is the one or the other, according to the object and the provocation. And if there ever was an object which, by its bare announcement, stamped rebels against a particular community as enemies of mankind, it is the one professed by the South.

    No one has a natural right to own another human being. I can understand the historical context but it doesnt make it right. I can also understand why it was allowed to continue after our founding, it should have ended on its own without war but it didnt. The south was on the wrong side of history, of human liberty, of morality, they deserved to lose.

    I am truly sorry you dont understand just how evil slavery really is.

  75. LawyerChuck,

    Thanks for the link to that article. I left the classroom before I had planned because the mania for standardized testing was beginning to take hold in my state. I knew all the joy I took in teaching young children would be a thing of the past once I was expected to spend much of my class time teaching to the test. I spent my last three years before retirement as an elementary school teaching librarian. It was my dream job!

  76. Nick,

    Now if that comment was directed towards me…. No problem…. If it was directed at Elaine….. Then you are a bigger fool than I thought…..

  77. Byron: “So what? Right is right and economics has nothing to do with it.”

    In a perfect world, you would be correct.. In THIS world however, economics rules the roost and right becomes a somewhat fluid concept..

  78. Kraaken:

    “In THIS world however, economics rules the roost and right becomes a somewhat fluid concept..”

    And that is a real problem with our society, this idea of gray and nuance. There are moral absolutes and our society would be better off if we could figure that out.

  79. And whose “Moral Relativism” are you defining Nick?

    If it’s yours I want nothing to do with it. If it’s society as a whole, well, you’re just not capable of defining what’s constitutes “Morality” as it is my belief that you are morally challenged, ethically incapable and intellectually dishonest.

  80. Nick,

    I think your blowing things out of proportion….. I feel sorry for you….. You must really be lonely…… Have you noticed the quality of post have gone down pretty much since you have pretty much tried to make this a right wing cauldron…… No one can have a dissenting voice but you ….. What’s the problem with that….

  81. Byron – what you have to realize is that there are two issues here. 1) One which is evil today. 2) One that was iffy in 1860. As a historian, you try not to overlay current morality, ethics or legality on the period you are studying. You can use the morality, ethics and legality of the period to evaluate the subjects and their actions, but not yours. As a historian you try to keep your bias out of the way.

  82. AY – a quick read of Wikipedia would give your a better grasp of Lee’s career and the Civil War. You got several items wrong.

  83. Paul…. I agree with the concept of moral relativism…… I think someone call Nick out for his use…… And based upon what I have seen nick do….. Well, I have to agree with the Yankee …….

  84. If you agree with moral relativism then whatever nick does is correct. There is nothing to agree with Yankee about.

  85. AY – ” When Grant was elected…. He reversed that decision….. But could not reverse the seizure of Robert E Lees property which is now Arlington cemetery….. So appointed him head of Washington Lee university as I recall…. Lifetime I think …..” All of this is incorrect except for the part of Lee’s home becoming Arlington Cemetery. Lee was selected by the trustees of Washington College to head it up and it later became Washington and Lee because of his impact on the university. Johnson reversed the 40 acres, not Grant. Since the US govt illegally seized the property in 1864, Grant had no part in giving Arlington back. It actually went to court and in 1882 the SCOTUS decided against the government. It was then returned to the Custis family who then sold the cemetery back to the US

  86. A student would not be allowed to have gang symbols or representations on their vehicles or person for safety reasons. A gang member could claim “gang name” pride if this instance was allowed to be overturned. One could argue that the confederate flag is a symbol used by white supremacist groups and thus be equal to any other gang symbols representing any other gang.

    A public school is a unique institution in that the students are required to be there or find an alternative and pay for it. A gang member zoned to a school in another gang’s territory does not have a choice about going to school. I worked at a school that had a “local” gang and another school housed the rival gang. The principals of both schools were wise enough to transfer rival gang members to the other school to keep peace and protect the student body from possible violence. The under aged gang members do not want to draw attention to themselves for truancy because ultimately it brings unwanted attention to the area and would be bad for business.

    I agree with most of your posts on the intolerance of schools and the abuse of power, however in this instance I do not see it. Would it be acceptable for students to start putting gang sign graffiti on sun shades in the windshields? How is that not protected free speech but this is? Would the ACLU protect a gang member’s right to have blatant gang symbols on their vehicle in the school parking lot? Would you be for allowing this type of free speech and just wash your hands of the violence that would result in the schools and the dangers posed to students not affiliated with a gang?

    If you view the flag as history, I can buy your argument. If you view it as a gang symbol, then I disagree with your argument. I view it as a gang symbol, especially since the word Redneck was on it, thus distorting the historical argument of the symbol.

    Of course you could be right and this is just another instance of a school applying zero tolerance.

  87. klr – having worked in schools with gangs where as many as eight gangs were in the same small school, I agree with your concerns about gang signs, etc. However, the Confederate flag has never, to my knowledge, been adapted by a gang as its sign or symbol.

    It is clearly a free speech problem and because of how the school articulated it, I think they are going to lose big time, if it gets litigated.

  88. So many people in their ignorance of the Rebel Flag still discriminate against people exercising their freedom of speech. There is an increasing number of people that are completely ignorant of the fact that the Civil War was not about slavery, but about a government coming in and imposing its views on a country. Those same people are also ignorant of the fact that some northern states also had slaves.

  89. Paul you can have whatever opinion you want but the idea that slavery was “nuanced” is without any sort of merit. It was the extortion of free labor and the attempted elimination of an entire people’s humanity. So to refer to it as nuanced shows that you evidently didn’t learn very much in your history classes.

    Only in neo-confederate texts is the Civil War referred to as the War of Northern Aggression, something designed to elide the fact that the Southern states violently left the Union and started a war to maintain and expand slavery and white supremacy. The primary sources make that abundantly clear. So go peddle your “War of Northern Aggression” nonsense someplace else.

  90. “There is an increasing number of people that are completely ignorant of the fact that the Civil War was not about slavery, but about a government coming in and imposing its views on a country. “

    What’s that Hubert?

    “Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

  91. Laura Nelson was lynched in Oklahoma which was NOT a Confederate state. She also seems to have been lynched in 1911, that would be 50 years after the start of the War of Northern Aggression.

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